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Op-Ed: Stop the Hipster Hate

Un-American to some, symbol of oblivious privilege to others, the urban hipster is a polarizing character. But the stereotype also lays blanket criticism on those simply trying to make people-scaled cities work.
April 22, 2015, 5am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Steven Depolo

In response to Aaron M. Renn's recent defense of "boring cities" in the Guardian, Kevin Klinkenberg comes to the urban hipster's aid. Prompted perhaps by faddish coverage of the "hip" lifestyle, "[Renn] sets up a false dichotomy that cities and urban life are all about excitement, action and trendiness, while suburbs are essentially about what really matters – family, safety and cleanliness."

Klinkenberg argues that a fine-grained urban lifestyle doesn't need to be achingly trendy, and that its so-called hipster purveyors are a more diverse group than the stereotype admits. From the article: "We spend thousands to travel to France and Italy to enjoy those artisanal cheeses, wine, great coffee and slow culture. And then we come back home and...make fun of those who are trying to do just that in the US."

While there are certainly snobs, gentrifiers, and poseurs among the hipster crowd, hipsters are also "reviving the scale of economy that works best in cities: food within very easy walking distances, neighborhood shopkeepers and manufacturers, smaller schools, police patrolling on foot, real jobs nearby instead of requiring a commute; in general a scale that doesn't depend on bigness."

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Published on Thursday, April 9, 2015 in
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